Rep. Engel: February Jobs Report Shows Need for Greater Emphasis on Wage Growth

Rep. Engel: February Jobs Report Shows Need for Greater Emphasis on Wage Growth


Calls for Raising the Federal Minimum Wage

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the February Jobs report shows that although the economy is heading in the right direction, we still need to do more to improve stagnant wages.

The U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February—the 53rd consecutive month of positive jobs growth—with an unemployment rate of 5.5% percent. February also saw a 0.1% increase in wages – down from an increase of 0.5% in January. Persistently low wages speak to the greater need for legislative policy that will help middle and working class families.

“It is very important to see steady, continued growth in the jobs market, and the February jobs report shows us exactly that,” Congressman Engel said. “While it is apparent that our economic recovery is gaining steam, I am still concerned by the lack of consistent progress on wages. Despite the economic resurgence, far too many New Yorkers are feeling that the recovery has left them behind.

“There are levers we in Congress can pull to improve the wage situation for millions of Americans. Voting to increase the Federal minimum wage would be a great first step, but we can also promote and expand vital tax credits—like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit—so that people can keep more of what they earn. Every dollar counts, and we must do more to make sure that every working family sees the recovery in their paychecks. Let us put aside the partisanship and focus on real, tangible ways to raise wages for the American people.”

Prior to the release of the February report, analysts had predicted job growth of about 213,000 for the month. The January jobs numbers were also revised upwards, from 230,000 to 257,000 jobs added for the month.